How To Make Turkish Coffee At Home

BY BORIS POVOLOTSKY - 28 Apr 2023

How To Make Turkish Coffee

Background

Turkish coffee is one of the most famous coffee beverages in Israel. When people offer you coffee at home or work, they usually refer to Turkish coffee or some popular instant coffee with milk. However, the Israeli common method of brewing black Turkish coffee has almost nothing to do with Turkish Coffee. For years, I was convinced I consumed Turkish coffee the whole time, when in fact it was a successful marketing trick of big corporate food companies.

Thankfully, some of us have learned about the origins of Turkish coffee and the correct way to prepare a perfect cup of Turkish coffee. It is a blast.

For some history, check out this article by PGD.

Just to quote some:

Coffee was given its name, not by the place of its origin (Kaffa in Ethiopia), but from the Arabic word qahwa, meaning “wine”. This reflects coffee’s spread to Yemen, where the first coffee drink was consumed by ancient practitioners of Sufism, a mystical sect of Islam. Sufis drank ground coffee berries mixed with water as part of their daily ceremonies in order to stay awake for their nightly prayers and remain energetic during the twirling, hypnotic dances they were famed for. It is this Yemeni coffee that we use in Turkish coffee today.

The journey doesn’t end here. From Yemen, we travel to Istanbul, where in 1555 two Syrian traders brought the first coffee beans to sell at busy, bustling markets. Turks discovered that they could make a delicious, bitter, dark drink from the fermented pulp of the coffee berries that both provided energy and curbed hunger. Again, this was immensely useful for dervishes, a subset of Sufi ascetics.

Modern Days

Turkish coffee has gained popularity and is well-known across the world. I wouldn’t say it’s the typical or the default choice of beverage for many coffee drinkers, but it certainly is for some. Especially today, specialty coffee lovers and coffee hobbyists are expanding their interests to various coffees, not Espresso exclusively.

The making of Turkish coffee feels like an authentic ritual, which, in my opinion and experience isn’t something to be overlooked. We invest hundreds, and even thousands of dollars to get expensive machines, accessories, etc. to enrich our coffee-making experience. It isn’t only about the tastes. Of course, a bad cup isn’t much tastier because of the experience alone. But, a good cup along with the experience is what creates a magical moment we’re all after, right?

How Much Caffeine In Turkish Coffee

The caffeine content of a Turkish coffee depends on your cup volume. If you make a Turkish with 7 grams of coffee and use a 1:10 ratio you’re having a 70mL cup with approximately 63 mg of caffeine, a larger serving will naturally contain more caffeine.

Now, we use a very fine grind setting for Turkish coffee, hence, our caffeine content may be slightly higher, but not dramatically.

As a general rule of thumb, don’t rely on concrete numbers because caffeine is variable and depends on many factors, rather, use estimates. According to the FDA, 400 mg of caffeine is within a safe range of daily caffeine intake, that’s about 6 cups of Turkish cups of 7 grams per cup and about 3 cups of 14 grams cups.

Prerequisites / Equipment

Alright, to prepare Turkish coffee you are going to need some stuff:

  • A cezve or ibrik. There are some beautiful, authentic pieces out there. Those are essentially small pots used to brew the coffee. It has a narrow spout for easy pouring in of the brewing process.
  • Fresh coffee. Grind your coffee fine, like a powder, finer than espresso. Ideally, you’d opt for a good-quality coffee grinder, either a hand-grinder or an electrical one and you’d grind fresh beans. (Not all espresso grinders grind well enough for Turkish coffee)
  • A heat source. It could be your home stovetop or a portable gas burner. whatever.
  • Sugar (if you want, we don’t add)

How To Make Turkish Coffee: Turkish Coffee Ratio

Notes: Ratio: 1:10 Brew Time: 2-3 minutes with preheated water. 8-10 minutes if you start with cold water Coffee In: 14 grams of finely ground coffee Outcome: 140 grams of coffee

  1. Add Water It’s recommended you use good water to keep your cezve scale free, though, it isn’t as risky as with espresso machines. Also, preheat your water in a kettle.

  2. Add Sugar (optional) Some drink it without sugar, but you can try it out. Don’t stir right away. Wait a couple of seconds.

  3. Stir gently, don’t overdo it. Only stir for about 15 seconds.

  4. When foam is created, you’re halfway through. Watch the foam climbing up, as it reaches the top part of your cezve, it’s ready. Don’t let it boil.

  5. Pour And Enjoy!

Note:

  • Over-stirring, and letting the water get to boiling temperatures increases the extraction of the coffee, resulting in a rather bitter sip, which is unpleasant.

I hope I could at least make you curious about Turkish coffee. To be honest though, at home, we’re so used to the old way of preparing ‘black’ coffee that we couldn’t establish the habit of making proper Turkish coffee as prescribed above.

In Israel, we especially enjoy brewing and drinking Turkish coffee when camping, it’s tightly coupled together. At home, we usually have Espresso or Americano, but when we occasionally run out of beans, we make Turkish (instant) coffee. If you’d like to see my Lever Espresso setup, I use a Profitec 800 and I love it!


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